There was a nice little article published in Friday’s Daily Bruin about Fair Trade Coffee.
If you’re not familiar with Fair Trade, here’s how it works.
- Farmers are routinely marginalized because coffee prices spike and fall in an unpredictable manner. As a a result, during bad years, farmers enter severe debt to cover their production costs. They then spend the good years paying off the interest on that debt, which is routinely held by the purchasers anyways. These farmers end up as indentured servants.
- Fair Trade ensures a minimum price that is calculates at a living wage. This ensures that farmers do not have to go into debt. The program also holds environmental and social standards that ensure sustainable practices as well as making sure that the farmers’ children are not employed in the farms and can stay in school. Certification programs abound, and the one predominately used here is TransFair.
Here’s a link to the article, it describes some of the ongoing efforts to increase the availability and access to Fair Trade products across the UCLA campus.